Funding: Researchers receive Royal College grant to study bias and equity training in specialty education

Researchers at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s Centre for Education Research & Innovation (CERI) have received a 2020 Strategic Initiative Grant from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

The funded project, titled “Feedback and Facilitation: Exploring and Supporting Sensitive Conversations about Bias in Specialty Education”, will explore how professional context influences the cycle of feedback, facilitation and behaviour change.  

Dr. Javeed Sukhera“Culture influences how feedback is understood and processed,” explained Dr. Javeed Sukhera, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Paediatrics and principal investigator on the project. “Culture also influences whether feedback is perceived as actionable or threatening.”

Sukhera’s previous research found that discussions related to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) can provoke emotional and defensive reactions from learning sessions intended to create positive change, leading him to explore ways to make these conversations more effective.

The collaborative research team includes Dr. Chris Watling, Director and Scientist at CERI, Erin Kennedy, PhD, and Susan Rodger, PhD, Associate Professor with the Faculty of Education. 

“Understanding how culture may influence feedback and facilitation will help us better understand how to facilitate sensitive conversations about bias and equity,” said Sukhera.

The researchers hope their work will translate across sectors and organizations to inform future EDI training, policy and organizational practice.

“Our hope is that EDI becomes something that is integrated and embedded into everything we do,” said Sukhera. “Understanding and interpreting how our biases influence our behaviour should become an essential component of high-quality clinical care, teaching and research. This approach views EDI as a way of being, rather than a box that anyone can check.”